News & Events
Spring 2019: Upcoming ALERT Events November 29, 2018
Annual Student Pipeline Industry Roundtable Event (ASPIRE)
March 26, 2019
The Annual Student Pipeline Industry Roundtable Event (ASPIRE) will be held on March 26, 2019 at Northeastern University (Boston, MA). The ASPIRE is hosted by ALERT (Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats) & Gordon-CenSSIS (The Bernard M. Gordon Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems). ASPIRE provides an optimal setting for dialogue between members of the academic, industrial, and government communities and also provides networking opportunities for students looking for internships, co-op experiences, and full-time jobs. ASPIRE is targeted at undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of engineering, science, and computer & information sciences who are interested in careers related to homeland security.
Advanced Developments Encompassing Processes and Technologies for Customs and Border Protection (CBP-ADEPT-02)
March 27-28, 2019
The second workshop on Advanced Developments Encompassing Processes and Technologies for Customs and Border Protection (CBP-ADEPT-02) will be held March 27-28, 2019 at Northeastern University (Boston, MA). The CBP-ADEPT-02 Workshop will address advanced development and processes for tomorrow with presentations and panel discussions on specific topics, such as:
- An adaptive adversary
- Integration of equipment and data
- Collection and use of meta-data
- Insider threats
- Adaptation of TSA technologies
- Economics – incentives
- Simulation tools
- War gaming applications
ALERT Technology Showcase and Research Review
May 14, 2019
ALERT will be hosting a Technology Showcase and Research Review on May 14, 2019 at Northeastern University (Boston, MA). This event will feature presentations and demonstrations of ALERT research results and tools from select ALERT projects. Attendees will also be able to interact with individual project researchers and collaborators to learn more about their research throughout the day.
Advanced Developments for Security Applications (ADSA20) Workshop
May 15-16, 2019
The twentieth Advanced Developments for Security Applications (ADSA20) Workshop will be held May 15-16, 2019 at Northeastern University (Boston, MA). Due to conflicts with other events, ALERT has changed the date previously provided. The theme of the workshop will be “Design, Development, Testing, Deployment and Operation of Effective Systems.” Topics that will be addressed include:
- Defining “effective”
- Effectiveness for other stakeholders: airlines and passengers
- Effectiveness for other venues: subway, rail, and cargo
- Human in the loop
- Positive predictive value improvement
- Detection versus deterrence versus displacement
- Role of interconnectivity with open architectures
- Correct operating point on the receiver operator characteristic curve
- Application of metadata
- Rapid response to an adapting adversary
- Managing the threat list
- Dealing with imperfect equipment
- Role of Artificial Intelligence
- Statistical significance of tests and influence of limited training data
- Application of simulants
- True versus auto-detection
- Data augmentation
- Transition – particularly from academia
- Reducing time to market
- Role of third parties
A formal invitation to register for the ADSA20 Workshop and the ALERT Technology Showcase and Research Review, along with the agenda and logistics information are forthcoming. These events are by invitation only. Please contact Tiffany Lam at email@example.com if you are interested in attending.
Job Opportunity: United States Coast Guard November 29, 2018
November 29, 2018
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) Research and Development Center (RDC) is looking for a qualified candidate to fill the job opening of “Interdisciplinary Position: General Research Engineer/ Physical Research Scientist/Operations Research Analyst” in New London, Connecticut. The chosen candidate will serve as a member on project teams that have the ultimate goal of helping the Coast Guard improve its effectiveness and efficiency through the introduction of innovative technologies, tools, methods, and concepts of operations. The deadline to apply for this position is December 6, 2018.
For more information about the position, please visit: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/517688300
ALERT REUs Deliver Final Presentations September 27, 2018
September 27, 2018
Summer is a time for soaking up the sun, but for seven ambitious undergraduate students who participated in ALERT’s 10-week long Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program, this summer was dedicated to ALERT research! At Northeastern University (NU), Anthony Englert (University of Massachusetts Amherst) and Samuel Kebadu (George Mason University) worked with Professor Carey Rappaport (Projects R3-A.2, & R3-A.3); and Alexis Costales (Washington University in St. Louis), Diego Rojas (NU), and Joe Von Holten (NU) worked with Professor Jose Martinez Lorenzo (Projects R3-B.1 & R3-B.2). At the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez (UPRM), UPRM undergraduates, Samuel J. García-León and Roberto A. Rivera-De Jesús worked with Professor Samuel Hernandez (Project R3-C). The ALERT REU Program at NU collaborates with other REU programs in NU’s College of Engineering to build a cohort of students who jointly attend professional development meetings and program activities.
On August 9th, ALERT and Gordon-CenSSIS REUs based at NU delivered final presentations to friends, family, mentors, and professors on their project’s mission, their research contributions, and the knowledge and skills they gained from the program. The event kicked off at 9:00am with opening remarks from NU Professor David Kaeli (Electrical and Computer Engineering). A poster session was held at noon, where REUs shared posters they created, detailing their research contributions. During the session, faculty and mentors talked to each student about their work and judged them on three different categories: overall poster organization, research process presented clearly on poster, and oral presentation skills.
The event concluded with an award ceremony and closing remarks from Melanie Smith, REU Program Manager. Five students won an award for their posters including ALERT REUs, Anthony Englert and Sam Kebadu for their poster “Experimental Validation of a Multi-Static Imaging System for Concealed Threat Detection.” According to Professor Rappaport, “Anthony and Sam embraced the problem [focusing mm-waves for Advanced Imaging Technology] and were enthusiastically dedicated to solving it.”
If you are interested in hearing more about the experiences of past REU students, please check out ALERT’s short video: “ALERT Undergraduate Research in the AIT Lab at Northeastern University.”
Photo caption: REUs, Sam Kebadu and Anthony Englert, pose with their award winning poster and ALERT Postdoctoral Fellow, Mohammad Nemati.
Opportunities at Smiths Detection September 27, 2018
September 27, 2018
ALERT Industrial Partner, Smiths Detection has full-time positions available in both their Edgewood, Maryland (North of Baltimore) and Newark, California (San Francisco Bay Area) facilities.
Here are some links to specific job postings that Smiths Detection is searching for qualified candidates to fill:
Smiths Detection is also searching to fill a variety of other positions in the United States and abroad.
For additional job postings, please visit: http://www.smithsdetectionjobs.net/en/job-search/welcome/.
Summer 2018 REU Program July 31, 2018
July 31, 2018
This summer, ALERT is hosting seven undergraduate students who are participating in the 10-week long Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. At Northeastern University, two students are working with Professor Carey Rappaport (Project R3-A.2, Project R3-A.3), and three students are working with Professor Jose Martinez Lorenzo (Project R3-B.1, Project R3-B.2). ALERT is also hosting two students at the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez who are doing research with Professor Samuel Hernandez (Project R3-C), and one student at Duke University who is working with Professor Joel Greenberg (Project R1-C.3).
The ALERT REU Program at Northeastern University collaborates with other REU programs in the College of Engineering to build a cohort of students who jointly attend professional development meetings and program activities. At the end of the summer, each REU creates a research poster and presents a final presentation on their research project. These deliverables address the project’s overall mission and endeavors, the REU’s specific contributions to the project, as well as the knowledge and skills they gained from the experience.
If you are interested in hearing more about the experiences of past REU students, please check out our short video: “ALERT Undergraduate Research in the AIT Lab at Northeastern University.”
Caption: REU students, Diego Rojas and Alexis Costales, conduct research in Professor Jose Martinez Lorenzo’s laboratory at Northeastern University.
2018 DHS COE Summit Facilitates Collaboration and Advances DHS Mission July 31, 2018
ALERT, along with other current and emeritus DHS Centers of Excellence (COEs), hosted the 2018 Centers of Excellence Summit in Arlington, Virginia on May 30-31, 2018. The event focused on the topic of “University Research and Development to Protect the Homeland.” The DHS COE Summit provided the Centers of Excellence an opportunity to showcase their innovative solutions to homeland security challenges and facilitate collaboration across homeland security enterprise leadership and component end-users and industry participants. According to ALERT Center Director, Michael B. Silevitch,
“One of the most valuable aspects of the Summit was the teamwork needed to pull it together. It required a concerted effort by all of the COEs to organize and orchestrate the event. Going forward, this teamwork will lead to meaningful cross-center collaboration.”
The agenda for the two-day long summit was launched with a keynote address from Christopher C. Krebs, Senior Official Performing the Duties of Under Secretary, National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) and included talks by various security administrators, panel discussions, student posters, and a technology showcase.
Director Silevitch moderated a panel focused on “Transportation and Critical Infrastructure” on the first day of the summit. Panelists Carl Crawford, Eva Lee, David Nicol, and Detlof VonWinterfeldt addressed four questions related to this topic:
- What are some of the grand challenges that need to be addressed to enable the next generation of Homeland Security transportation and critical infrastructure solutions?
- What research needs to be done in order to address these challenges?
- How can the research outcomes be effectively transitioned to the field?
- What metrics can be used to enable a cost-benefit analysis of the research/transition impact?
ALERT’s Transition Team made connections with end users at the technology showcase and featured some of ALERT’s latest solutions in multi-view air cargo CT scanners, effective personnel screening, video tracking at the airport security checkpoint, and K9 explosives training aids.
COEs excel in advancing the state of the art thanks in large part to their student researchers. To acknowledge this, the summit provided students with the opportunity to present their work to attendees. Katherine Graham, one of ALERT’s talented undergraduate researchers, took home the Best Poster Award for her work on “Compressive Reflector Antennas for High-Sensing Capacity Imaging Applications.” These antenna designs provide a less complex and lower cost solution for high-sensing capacity millimeter wave imaging systems. Millimeter wave imaging systems have the potential for use in several near-field imaging applications such as security screening, non-destructive testing, autonomous driving, and biotechnology. The abstracts for the COE Summit student posters are available for download on the COE Summit 2018 website.
The summit provided an all-hands-on-deck approach to addressing homeland security challenges by bringing together some of the nation’s best academic, public, and private sector leaders to discuss strategies for advancing the mission of the Department of Homeland Security. ALERT looks forward to the next DHS COE Summit, and hopes you will join us there!
ASPIRE 2018: Bringing Students, Industry, and Government Together May 30, 2018
May 30, 2018
The Annual Student Pipeline Industry Roundtable Event (ASPIRE) was held on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at Northeastern University (Boston, MA). Each year, ASPIRE, hosted by ALERT (Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats) and Gordon-CenSSIS (The Bernard M. Gordon Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems), brings together members of the academic, industrial, and government communities to engage in dialogue, and provides networking opportunities for ALERT and Gordon-CenSSIS students looking for internships, co-op opportunities, and employment.
Participants at ASPIRE 2018 included industry representatives from American Science and Engineering/Rapiscan Systems, Pendar Technologies, Smiths Detection, Raytheon, HXI, and Innovation Business Partners; government representatives from the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and ALERT-affiliated graduate students from Boston University, Northeastern University, Purdue University, Texas Tech University, University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Notre Dame, and Marquette University. New to this year’s ASPIRE was the participation of non-ALERT students, including graduate students from the Northeastern University Master’s Program in Homeland Security.
The event began in the early afternoon with welcoming remarks from Emel Bulat (ALERT Industrial and Government Liaison Officer), Dr. Michael Silevitch (ALERT Director) and Dr. Laura Parker (DHS ALERT Program Manager). Afterward, industry and government members gave 5-minute presentations on their organizations, research needs, and job openings. Another new aspect of this year’s ASPIRE was a series of 15-minute group networking roundtables where students gained experience giving their 2-minute “elevator pitch” and receiving feedback from their peers and industry/government table hosts. This was followed by 10-minute one-on-one sessions between students and industry/government representatives, as well as one-on-one sessions between industry and government representatives.
Muhammad Usman Ghani, a graduate student from Boston University reflected on the value of participating in ASPIRE:
“As engineers, we don’t always get the chance to polish our networking skills. For example, I can explain a problem to another engineer in one sentence, but a general audience may not get it. This event gives you a chance to speak in a simpler and more general sense. It allows you to think outside of the box, rather than just focusing on solving problems.”
Time is running out! May 17, 2018
COE Summit Registration Deadline is THIS FRIDAY, May 18th
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence Summit 2018: University Research & Development to Protect the Homeland
Summit Dates: May 30-31, 2018
Location: George Mason University, 3351 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA
The deadline to register for the 2018 Centers of Excellence (COE) Summit is this Friday, May 18th. Don’t miss this interactive event which brings together researchers, DHS components, industry and first responders to discuss next-generation technology and tools developed to solve homeland security challenges.
This year’s summit features keynotes and discussions with top leaders in homeland security, including:
- Christopher Krebs, Senior Official Performing the Duties of Under Secretary,NPPD
- Corey Gruber, Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Response and Recovery, FEMA
- Darby LaJoye, Assistant Administrator, Office of Security Operations, TSA
- Kevin McAleenan, Commissioner, CBP
- Matthew Allen, Assistant Director, Investigative Programs Homeland Security Investigations, ICE
- William (Bill) Bryan, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology, DHS S&T
- Anneli Bergholm Soder, Head of the Operations, Department of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency
- Daniel Kaniewski, Deputy Administrator for Protection and National Preparedness, Federal Emergency Management Agency
The COE Summit’s Full Agenda also includes panel sessions on homeland security topics, an innovation showcase and student posters session.
Register HERE by May 18, 2018.
The COE Summit is sponsored by the United States Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence (COEs). The COE network is a consortium of hundreds of universities that conduct research and education to address homeland security challenges. ALERT is one of nine current Centers of Excellence sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security Office of University Programs.
ALERT invites you to the COE Summit on May 30-31, 2018! April 20, 2018
The Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence Summit 2018 will take place on May 30-31, 2018 at George Mason University in Arlington Virginia. ALERT would like to invite industry partners, researchers, homeland security operators, and other center community members to gather to collaborate on this year’s theme:
University Research & Development to Protect the Homeland
The summit will feature experts on relevant subject matter to discuss homeland security challenges, and facilitate collaboration between COE researchers and DHS leadership, as well as component end-users and industry participants. This year’s summit strives to showcase innovative research and development tools and other solutions to homeland security challenges, and to provide avenues to accelerate transition from research and development to operational use for those who protect the homeland.
The program includes panels with experts, a student poster and innovation showcase, demonstrations of tools and technology, opportunities for collaboration, and an address by William N. Bryan, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology in the Department of Homeland Security.
To register and for more information on the Centers of Excellence Summit 2018, visit the summit’s website – www.cina.gmu.edu/coe-summit-2018
The COE Summit is sponsored by the United States Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence (COEs). The COE network is a consortium of hundreds of universities that conduct research and education to address homeland security challenges. ALERT is one of nine current Centers of Excellence sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security Office of University Programs.Read More
Student Spotlight: Muhammad Usman Ghani (Ph.D. Candidate, Boston University) January 29, 2018
January 29, 2018
Muhammad Usman Ghani, a Ph.D. candidate in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Boston University, is now in his second year working on ALERT research with Professor Clem Karl. His project, “Advanced Multispectral Computed Tomography (CT) Algorithms” (Project R4-C.1), involves developing learning based algorithms to improve the quality of imaging reconstructions for CT, and applies many areas of his interest, including, machine learning, computer vision, and statistical signal processing. When asked how he initially became interested in ALERT research, he describes an early interest in image processing and machine learning, and states, “The focus of ALERT research is on the cross-roads of inverse problems in imaging and image analysis. Additionally, it is an applied kind of research, which has always driven me. When Professor Karl introduced me to the ALERT research, I instantly became interested.”
A driving force behind his work is his desire to see real world technology applications address the large scale and ever present security challenges faced today. Usman’s goal is to solve various image acquisition and analysis problems, specifically in security scenarios, and is currently working with Professor Karl to draw on big data to develop new machine learning based methods to improve image reconstruction. Outside of research, Usman loves to travel and immerse himself in new cultures, learning about the world’s religions and eating amazing food. When asked where he sees himself in 5-10 years, he is sure research will be part of his career, but has yet to decide if he will stay in academia or work in industry. Either way, his passion for learning and exploring is sure to lead to a rich and exciting future!